Traditional Bengali dress is the best head-to-toe attire for Bengali people. It bears some similarities to the bridal style. The dresses are mostly white or cream, but they may have fine embroideries in various shades of blue or gold thread. The embroideries are generally done in geometric patterns of circles and diamonds. The neckline is high, sometimes with a ruffle collar, but is more commonly cut straight across the chest.
The sleeves are wide and come to just above the elbow. The skirt structure is different from that of Western dresses. It has three layers – floor length or knee length front skirt, a waistband which may be separate or sewn fasten to the front skirt and a long back skirt. With wide fringes which can be rolled up or folded over depending on the occasion and temperature. Traditionally, the hanum (hoop) was wore by married women on festive occasions as well as ritualistic parades when arranging for her husband’s profession.
Men’s Bengali Dresses
Traditional Bengali Dress For Males
The traditional Bengali dress for males is a long Kolkata Dhoti with a tightly fitted upper body and sleeves. This long kurta (shirt) has short sleeves, with plain embroidery on the chest and back. The shirt is wore over a dhoti or lungi (wraparound), which is then gets tie at the waist. The dhoti is worn as a kilt-like garment draped around the lower waist, with pleats in the front and back, leaving an untied portion below the waistband to be wound around the lower half of the legs to hold it in place.
Gentlemen’s outfits, traditionally worn by Bengali men, tend to be dark in colour with dark suits and ties. Married men will wear the hanum (or ghungro) around their shoulders and a three-piece suit when attending weddings or other important affairs. The hanum has been replaced by the tikka, a small round pin that is worn on the upper right arm as well as by young boys on ceremonial occasions such as at certain types of birthdays. Arranged grooms traditionally wear kurta with pyjama and dhoti or lungi which is Kanduchi-Ghoti. The Kanduchi-Ghoti is a distinctive feature of the culture of West Bengal.
Traditional Bengali Dress for Women
The traditional Bengali women’s dress is a sari or an unstitched or stitched lehenga (long shirt) with a fitted waist and four pleats in the front and back of the skirt; traditionally, the four pleats are ironed to a point. The salwar kameez or churidar worn also have similar styles. An “uttariya” (“overcoat”) may be wore over either dress as an optional accessory. Bengali women wear kurta or sari as their everyday wear while they cover their heads with a handkerchief called “mogri”.
During winter, women often wear kameez, which is very similar to kurta, but with tighter sleeves and can come with buttons on the chest area.
Bengali Women’s Wedding Dress
A traditional West Bengal bride wears a sari to her wedding. However, it is customary for the bride to wear a red and gold Banarsi sari at her wedding. During the early 1800s, brides wore traditional red Bengali Dhakai sarees instead of wearing red and gold Banarsi saris.
It is quite common for Bengali women to wear various types of jewellery, although some of them are not common elsewhere in India. The most common type of jewellery is the bindi, a little red dot worn on the forehead. This dot has been wore by Bengali women since ancient times and is usually accompanied by gold dangly earrings and bangles made of traditional stones such as turquoise, jade and coral.
Today, women in Bengal wear more expensive and ethnic jewellery, mainly gold bangles and earrings. They also wear many types of gold chains (ranging from fine to thick).
The most popular bead bracelets are of multi-coloured glass that gets import from Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka and China. The traditional stone bangles called “kali ghat bangles” are very popular among women in Kolkata. These are also famous as “taka bangles” because they have been wearing by Bengali women since the time of the Nawabs.
Modern Bengali Attire
Today, Bengalis tend to wear a more-Western style of clothing, especially the younger generation. Western jeans and shirts are wear by people of all ages. During winter, the Western coat replaces the traditional angvastra (a type of shawl).
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